MOSCOW — It’s not Lynchburg Lemonade, it's “Saratov Limonad.” You want a Jack Daniels? Order a “Zhora Denisov.” And the cocktail that previously shared the name of the B-52 bomber? It’s a SU-34 strike fighter jet now, bub.
These are the drolly patriotic extremes to which one bar in the Ural Mountains has gone in reaction to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s semi-serious suggestion that ordering an “Americano” — the way Russians refer to American coffee — is politically incorrect in these dire times for U.S.-Russian relations.
Across Russia, purveyors of coffee have taken the hint. Menus across the nation are switching to the name “Russiano,” Igor Bukharov, head of the Russian restaurateurs and hoteliers federation, told the TASS news agency on Friday.
But Bar-Restaurant Ogonyok in Yekaterinburg, Russia, has taken the patriotic name craze to a new level. On its new “Premier” menu — the name is an acerbic doff of the cap to Medvedev — American Honey whiskey is now “Sweet Russia,” a Jack and Coke is now a Zhora and Kvass, and other famous cocktails with American place names like Bronx and Manhattan have been relocated to Biryulyovo and Maryina Roscha.
“We have changed all the politically incorrect names on our menu to our Russian, patriotic ones,” the venue announced on its Facebook page.
Anti-Americanism has been steadily growing in Russia for years, especially after the Obama administration slapped Russia with sanctions over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
But the latest spurt of liquid jingoism is more of a humorous reaction. It started when Medvedev, attending an intergovernmental conference of Eurasian leaders Wednesday, rebuked a participant who asked for an “Americano.”
“Actually, this is not politically correct at all. Let's rename it,” Medvedev said; a member of the Armenian delegation yelled out “Russiano,” and a trend was born.
The Russian branch of the American chain Burger King quickly came out with a Russiano to replace its Americano: “Burger King has heeded the advice of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and renamed its regular coffee at some of its stores ‘Russiano,’” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted the chain as saying. The appropriately nationalistic beverage would sell for 49 rubles, or about 75 cents, cheap enough to be a “democratic price,” RIA Novosti quoted the fast-food chain as saying.
Instagram took note:
And Russianos started popping up all over the country. This sign says “It’s even tastier because its ours.”
This movement should not be unfamiliar to Americans who remember that in protest of France’s opposition to the Bush administration’s plan to invade Iraq, the U.S. House of Representatives renamed french fries and French toast in the chamber's cafeteria as “Freedom fries” and “Freedom toast.”
Then again, these trends are made to be broken. The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president has Russians claiming victory, and Kremlin officials hoping for better relations soon.
It better be real soon. Burger King plans to stop selling Russiano-named coffee in two weeks.